Gautham Khandige writes about his favorite releases of 2018.
It’s been a really good year for music. Discovered a lot of new stuff and some old favorites turned in great albums. Here’s my Top 20 favourite metal albums from 2018 in order of preference.
20 – Usurpress – Interegnum (Agonia Records)
This Swedish band started with a crusty sludgy death metal sound but over the course of 4 albums have transformed into a different beast. This is progressive, heavy, melodic and filled with great songwriting.
19 – Morgengrau – Blood Oracle (Unspeakable Axe)
2nd album from this american death metal band. Erika Morgengrau sounds like an extreme version of Martin Walkyier and the songs are quite memorable. Solid death metal slightly let down by a muffled production that doesnt really do the riffs justice.
18 – Hyperdontia – Nexus of Teeth (Dark Descent)
This one blew my head off. More excellent death metal this year.
17 – Revororum Ib Malacht – Im Ra Distare Summum Soveris Seris Vas innoble (Annapurna Prod.)
I don’t know if the whole catholic black metal thing is for real or just a gimmick but Revororum’s music continues to captivate me. Noise, ambient and black metal clash to make some powerful music.
16 – Rotheads – Sewer Fiends (Memento Mori)
I liked a whole lot of death metal that came out this year. Rotheads are a lot more sophisticated in their approach than their name and album title would suggest. There’s some really good songwriting on Sewer Fiends.
15 – Imperial Triumphant – Vile Luxury (Gilead Media)
Jazz is easily my least favourite genre of music. A bit of jazz in my metal is fine though. Imperial Triumphant has a little more than just a little jazz. It’s still great. This is exciting genre pushing metal in the best sense.
14 – Varathron – Patriarchs of Evil (Agonia Records)
This long running Greek black metal band put out their best album in a long time. Patriarchs of Evil is melodic, heavy and continues the Varathron tradition of combining classic heavy metal and their own peculiar brand of black metal. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
13 – Metal Church – Damned if you Do (Rat Pak Records)
I didnt expect to like this one as much as I did. Mike Howe’s vocals are on point and the songs are great. It’s classy heavy metal/ hard rock that’s modern in presentation but still retains enough classic Church to make me a very happy camper.
12 – Solstice – White Horse Hill (Independent)
Solstice can do no wrong and in a year when a lot of doom dissapointed, this band held fast and delivered a classic British doom metal album.
11 – Ride for Revenge – Sinking the Song (Independent)
I can’t explain my love for this band but their brand of Finnish black metal has this unhinged, dangerous quality to it that I can’t help but admire. Another stellar album.
10 – Mournful Congregation – The Incubus of Karma (Osmose Productions)
9 – Primordial – Exile Amongst the Ruins (Metalblade Records)
Another band that can do no wrong. Magnificent epic heavy metal.
8 – Into Oblivion – Paragon (Independent)
Hugely ambitious and epic black metal. More people need to be talking about this band.
7 – Zealotry – At the Nexus of All Stillborn Worlds (Unspeakable Axe)
Over the course of three albums, Zealotry has refined their sound and attack to a frightening level. This is bold and ambitious death metal. The songwriting is always moving forward and At the Nexus is their finest work yet.
6 – Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram (Century Media)
Brilliant return to form after the dissapointing Womb of Lilithu. This is terrific black thrash. Memorable songs, great riffs and vocals that make me want to sing along. Pure unadulterated Satan worshipping metal.
5 – Thou – Magus (Sacred Bones Records)
The Magus is Thou at their best. Sludge, drone, absolutely crushing riffs and a sense of bleak despair that many aspire to but few ever reach.
4 – Panopticon – The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness I & II (Bindrune Recordings)
This is terrific stuff. I’ve been following Panopticon since Kentucky and The Scars… feels like the culmination of everything that;s come before. A massive double album where black metal collides with American folk music and turns into something at once beautiful, melancholic and altogether powerful.
3 – Deceased – Ghostly White (Hells Headbangers Records)
Holy shit. I thought Surreal Overdose was a great Deceased album but this new one is just as good and in the long run might even be better. Ghostly White is yet another impressive album by a band who has been consistently excellent throughout their entire discography. This is more great heavy metal from this classic band.
2 – Sigh – Heir to Despair (Spinefarm UK)
The indulgent excesses of the last few albums have been reined in and the songwriting has gotten a lot tighter. That’s not to say this is particularly accessible or friendly. It’s still Sigh and the band’s still pushing boundaries and fucking with genres but they do so in a focused and dare I say it, controlled manner. This is Sigh’s best album since Imaginary Sonicscapes. Superb stuff.
1 – Voivod – The Wake (Century Media)
Daniel Mongrain is well and truly a part of the Voivod machine now. The Wake is the missing link that should have come after Nothingface. Fantastic album and the guitar solo of the year on Obsolete Beings. One my all time favourite bands and The Wake ranks right up there with anything this band has done before.